Figures released by the DWP show that calls about universal credit (UC) were answered 24 times faster than calls about PIP in March of this year, even though there were twice as many UC calls.

Labour MP Beth Winter aske DWP employment minister Guy Opperman what the average waiting time was for the UC helpline.

Opperman’s response showed that the “average speed of answer” for the UC helpline was 1 minute and 28 seconds in March of this year and three minutes and 39 seconds in April.

Winter also asked Tom Pursglove, DWP minister for disabled people, how many callers to various DWP helplines had been for various lengths of time from 60 minutes up to over two hours.

Pursglove said they were unable to answer the question about the length of calls, but did give the number of callers.

In March 2023 there were 1,345,024 calls to the UC helpline compared to 684,306 calls to the PIP helpline. In other words, there were almost twice as many calls about UC than there were about PIP.

In April there were 1,213,815 calls to the UC helpline compared to 530,117 calls to the PIP helpline, around two and a quarter times as many.

Yet in March the average speed of answer for the UC helpline was just 1 minute and 28 seconds.

For PIP it was 37 minutes.

So, UC calls were answered 24 times faster than PIP ones in March, even though there were twice as many.

And the reality may be much worse, as the DWP may have deliberately cut off many calls to the PIP helpline before they could be answered.

In April UC calls were still answered 11 times faster than PIP ones, even though there were two and a quarter times as many.

So, clearly the problem with the PIP helpline isn’t an overwhelming volume of calls.

It’s much more about where the DWP chooses to invest its resources.

And, at the moment, disabled claimants are at the very back of the queue.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Triggs · 10 months ago
    I acidently discovered that I hadnt been disconnected from my call to PIPs after they said goddbye. I let the silence on the line continue and tried to ring the from another phone as the minutes kept ticking on the initial phone and low and behold the music came on and I was active again. this was quite a wait but hold your nerve!  Update I have received my road tax exemption certificate it only took 2 days, so they can send stuff promptly!  
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    janet · 10 months ago
    My friend had to go into a nursing home i tried for weeks on and off to get through to pip. In the end she wasnt entitled to pip anymore. How much easier would it be if you could report online..
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    Mesy · 10 months ago
    Welcome, I still waiting for PIP refresh on the march. Stress about is ???  
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    Mike · 10 months ago
    I have had to call pip over last few days each time for over an hour only to be cut off at the end. Finally got through yesterday after 97 minutes.
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    Caroline · 10 months ago
    I have long since given up calling PIP and just write instead. I find it disgusting to read your report on call answering times for PIP. I have waited an hour or more to be answered in the past. 
    PS it took 18 months to conduct my review
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    ElIn Selwyn · 10 months ago
    I received my PiP review form & because of my disability & CAB are so overwhelmed in my area - I rang the PIP helpline to ask for more time - I was cut off six times in a row. the impact on my stress levels was awful - of course it was deliberate on their part ! 
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    Carol · 10 months ago
    I have called pip twice now today and they’ve hung up on me. 
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    Mary · 10 months ago
    Yet more evidence of how disabled people are discriminated against!
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    Triggs · 10 months ago
    I have spent several hours of trying to get through to PIP to get a certificate of entitlement for free road tax as my certificate has come to an end. Then my life got considerably worse! I asked about holidays and mentioned I was going away and asked what the rules were.

    Several days later I received a letter from them, thinking it was my certificate! No certificate but a letter telling me my claim is coming to an end and to reapply soon or lose my PIP.
    I am now a pensioner so it would mean I lose my PIP as I can no longer apply! This was just as I was celebrating being awarded for an ongoing period of 10 years being on enhanced for both elements.
    Guess what? When I said about this letter they could not find it! I now scan all correspondence into my computer so I have copies.
    My holiday query resulted in me being registered as a tempary resident and my subsequent several hours of phone calls triggering a review form being sent out just as I go on holiday.
    I pointed out the form would arrive while I was away and that as a veteran I think I deserve to be able to go on a holiday, that might improve my ability to manage indoors without a wheelchair for a little longer.
    The stress this has caused and the anxiety is unmeasurable, throughout this debacle, I spoke to no less than 4 advisors of varying rank and experience some tried ringing me whilst I was engaged on the phone with a colleague of theirs. This took from 09.00 till 15.15 hrs of different decisions being made by different advisors.
    No wonder we can`t get through. I await the results through the post. I have already prepared a report to take to my MP. I think this identifies a training need and a body to closely monitor their staffs ability to run the department.


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    Astrid · 10 months ago
    The sad reality is I think it is deliberate and the future is bleak
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    Jay · 10 months ago
    I have been unable to get through to speak to anyone on the PIP telephone line for many weeks now. When I have got through I never actually spoke to anyone and then was cut off. I sent in my enquiry by post but have not had a reply. I am at a loss wha to do next. It’s incredibly stressful and time consuming, using lots of energy which I don’t have a lot of !
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    Stephanie · 10 months ago
    I received a request to renew my PIP back in February 2023 and I was given 10 days to get the relevant forms back to them, which I duly did. It is now nearly June and I have heard nothing. I have tried many times to phone them but I keep getting disconnected once I get through to making my choice of extension. Regardless of which extension I choose, the line gets disconnected and that is after waiting anything up to 50 minutes to get to that stage. It is as if they keep you waiting so long in the hope that you will get fed up and then if that fails they disconnect you. So I have given up after several months of trying.
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    Graham Brewis · 10 months ago
    One afternoon last month our three advisors at Clean Slate Wellbeing Services CIO were all hanging on to the PIP helpline at the same time. We each all had our all calls answered after waiting between 55 and 58 minutes long. Since then we have been keeping records of all our subsequent PIP answering times and they have been over 50 minutes in all of them, apart from one that was answered after 10 minutes (we don't know what we did well that time), and another that was over an hour. Some calls weren't allowed in the queue at all (perhaps the expected waiting time was set by the call centre switchboard at an hour). When you extrapolate that situation across the whole country what an incredibly wasted resource of advisors wanting to help our disabled clients. Seriously, is there nothing else that can be done to reprioritise these? Another factor is of course the effect on the call handlers themselves. Having worked in a high pressure call centre myself in the past there is nothing more frustrating than looking at a seemingly endless display of queued calls. For us advisors even calling first thing in the morning doesn't help, you are immediately in the queue - "we are experiencing extremely high call volumes." You get the impression the button to start that pre-recorded is top of the list of Things To Do for the first staff member into the office. Could they not use a system that tells you how many calls are in the queue ahead of you? Thinking about that it probably won't help very much to know you are 78th in the queue! Or how about a Spotify account where the caller can choose their favourite artist to ease the pain. As you have probably gathered I am writing this as I wait on the PIP helpline. It's coming up to 50 minutes so I had best sign off. Good luck to us all. 
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    Lynn · 10 months ago
    Also , frustratingly after waiting 47 mins for the call to be taken my enquiry was not dealt with correctly so had to call them again when the wrong information was sent in the post. The second contact I made was also as long to get through but again , I was sent a second lot of incorrect forms I needed to show the office of guardianship. This was despite giving detailed explanation of what I needed and what had been sent previously , the reasons why it was incorrect .  The third call I was told that what I needed was not a standard format letter so had to be generated which would take time and effort so I guess that was the reason why they decided to send any old guff. Have I complained .?  Have I got time to call again ? 
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    Nathan. · 10 months ago
    It took me over an hour early Friday morning to get through to PIP to request for an extension of my claim review as I'd only received it that morning although it was dated the 2nd May.They requested everything back by the 2nd June which was impossible seeing as all of my records are being held by DMWS as I'm a forces veteran under the VTN awaiting more surgery now needing a hip replacement.
    E tension granted until the 16th which is still going tobe a push!
    Funnily enough I rang UC to ask for a budgeting loan as I now need a wheelchair...They don't do them for that and was told to look at what I can apply for and call them back.
    I don't need anything other than a wheelchair so what do I do?make a fraudulent claim for something I do not need?

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    denby · 11 months ago
    As ever "Well Done!" to B&W for proving what we all of course suspect. Anyone seeing/contacting their MP, this is a good one to raise. Disabled claimants are disadvantaged by this, eg I have got very stiff in my joints during long call waits, others may need the loo and have to hang up to answer the call of nature, when DWP wont answer their phone call. And so on.
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